10 Experiences and Trips to Book Months in Advance
or miss out.
What vacations do you need to book months to a year in advance? In this article I’m telling you 10 trips to plan for way ahead of time. Some of the world’s most unique experiences, sites, tours, and seasons are short-lived and highly sought after so set your calendar reminders to buy tickets and subscribe to email newsletters to receive updates and release dates.
1. Helicopter Ride Over the Tulip Fields in Holland
One hour outside of Amsterdam is the floral mecca of Keukenhof Gardens and tulip fields. Take a helicopter ride over the tulip fields with Bollenstreek. This is a family-run business that is only a 5 minute drive from the Keukenhof so the logistics are easy. Helicopter rides only operate 6 Saturdays a year with only a few rides per day so you have to reserve your flight as soon as they release the dates. The ride is short but well worth the money. Only 4 people can fit in the helicopter at a time. Sign up to receive their newsletter and you’ll be notified when dates are released.
Because tulip season is only 6 to 8 weeks and falls over the Easter holiday – this experiencxe has a small window. Purchase your entrance tickets to Keukenhof Gardens here in advance as they will sell out. Also, I suggest getting there before they open to avoid mobs of buses.
2. Anne Frank House Tickets
The Anne Frank House tickets sell out months in advance. Set a calendar reminder so you don’t miss grabbing your tickets as soon as they are released – exactly 2 months in advance. These tickets are timed and you must be to the museum 30 minutes ahead of your designated tour time. There are 2 ticket types: museum visit and museum visit+introductory program. I highly suggest the combo ticket as the 30 minute introduction is really interesting. If you’re wondering if this is appropriate for kids – yes. My 7-year-old daughter wanted to skip a few of the museum rooms at the end but overall it is well suited for children. I highly suggest reading “Who Was Anne Frank” before this visit with children. To walk and crawl through the “Secret Annex”, see her diary, and experience this museum is indescribable.
The intensity and sadness begins outside the building – watching all the tourists walk up expecting to enter the museum baffled they can’t go in.
3. Cataman Cruise in Croatia
We loved every bit of Croatia but our far and away favorite: a 4 night catamaran tour of the Dalmation islands. After lots of research, I found that all of the itineraries are almost identical which left value and reviews as the tie breaker.
I am not sponsored/partnered with Huck Finn and I couldn’t recommend them more. The boat was beautiful, a fresh breakfast was made every morning by our skipper, and we loved the Aussie and Welch friends we made during that week. Do not miss this. You’ll dock at small islands as the only tourists and get a real sense of the Croatian food and people. On the boats we had snorkels for caving and stand up paddle boards for stopping at neat places off of the beaten path and enjoying the gorgeous blue water.
We left from Dubrovnik and landed in Split but the reverse itinerary is also available. It’s a great way to get from one side of the archipelago to the other. After I nailed down this cruise, I built the rest of the trip around it. 3 nights in Dubrovnik, cruise to Split where we rented a car and headed to the National Parks of Krka and Plitvice Lakes.
4. Camping in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite campgrounds are gone seconds after they are available online. Set an alarm on your phone, paint on your eyeblack, and pull the trigger! Reservations here are open 366 days in advance.
There are 2 options with Yosemite – stay inside the national park or outside. If you stay outside you will have a lot of hotel options BUT you’ll be driving into the park everyday and waiting in long lines. Staying inside the park is the best option. There are 9 lodging options inside the park including three hotels, cabins, and campsites.
Note that the property names have changed due to a recent lawsuit:
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel is again known as The Ahwahnee
Half Dome Village is again known as as Curry Village
Big Trees Lodge is again known as Wawona Hotel
5. Machu Picchu Entrance Tickets
Because of over tourism, Machu Picchu limits the amount of people on the hallowed grounds. Make sure to get your tickets for visiting Machu Picchu and/or HuaynaPicchu as the FIRST STEP in planning your airline tickets and hotels. Imagine getting all the way there and not seeing this!
There are lots of third-party companies selling tickets. This is the official site. Bring your passport to get it stamped at the entry. Your ticket is good for a specific hour and you are only allowed to be on the grounds for 4 hours maximum.
6. Tulum Hotels
Tulum Mexico is the perfect winter escape from the cold. I lovingly refer to Tulum as the “the boutique Anthropologie of beaches”. You won’t find large hotel chains in Tulum – they aren’t allowed. Go here for beaches that feel like Europe and great food. Leave the kids at home if you can as most places are not kid friendly. Tulum’s ONE flaw – you’ll need to book a winter stay very early to secure your spot in these tiny hotels. We’ve stayed at the Zebra and Coral Tulum – both with private plunge pools, amazing staff, and great food. Book a February trip in August and thank me later.
7. Hallstatt Hotels
If you want to enjoy this city in all it’s glory – don’t just drop by for 3 hours like the rest of the tour buses. An overnight stay means you’ll see the uninterrupted beauty of the lake and the quaint quiet town without a million selfie sticks in your face. One or two nights is all you need but because of the wee size – hotel rooms with a view are booked way out. We loved the Heritage Hotel Hallstatt. The picture featured above is an unfiltered panorama view off of our balcony. Set your clock to watch the sunrise and cry at this view with the swans and a coffee.
8. Santorini Hotels
Wanna know who wants to go to Santorini? every person you know. The island is small, the hotels are tiny (like 4 rooms) and the demand is extremely high for the short season when Greece is open. If you’re going to get a room with the famous “caldera view” you better get to booking. Don’t be surprised if you are required to pay your full stay amount up front. That is how a lot of the properties operate in Santorini. Get ready to splurge – it’s really the only way to do this trip so budget now. Pictured here: The Tsitouras Collection – family owned and operated and easily my favorite hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Yes, that’s what I said: My favorite hotel in the world.